The Safari was having a quiet few minutes reflection outside yesterday morning when we noticed the flowers on the Castor Oil plant were still full of insects. The sun was out and it was quite warm out of the nippy wind; the morning had started with a sharp frost and much scraping of ice from the car windscreen. It was so warm in the sun we went back to the office or the camera and a thermometer. We placed the thermometer amongst the flowers the insects were visiting and waited to see how warm it would get to.
13.2C - not bad for 11.15 on a mid-November morning; it actually got to 13.4 briefly but cold gusts of wind sent it back down to low 11s and high 10s. Out the front of the building in the shade it would have only been about 8 or 9C, that sun made a big difference.
As we stood watching the comings and goings of the numerous Bluebottles and Drone Flies (Eristalis tenax) a fat insect with a flash of white caught our eye. No, it couldn't bee, could it? Yes it was and it wasn't the only one, we saw at least three different individuals come and go all with fully laden pollen baskets.
They are Buff Tailed Bumble Bee (Bombus terrestris) workers and apparently this species is now increasingly nesting throughout the whole year and foraging all winter. Wonder if they'll survive, which probably depends on how cold it gets and what the over winter nectar and pollen supplies are like locally - we'll keep an eye out and keep you posted. Fascinating stuff, climate change in action?
No bird news from Patch 2, this morning while giving Monty a run round in the back garden at Base Camp a couple of Redwings flew over and there was a good deal of cackling coming from numerous Blackbirds.
Where to next? Monty is getting his first trip to either the beach or the countryside today so we may have some news for you later.
In the meantime let us know who's gathering the pollen in your outback.